OHS Canada Magazine

NIDMAR tools to play key role in new federal government DM strategy

December 15, 2004

Health & Safety

VANCOUVER, BC The federal Deputy Minister
of Labour says NIDMARs tools and programs will
play a central role in Ottawas new disability
management strategy.

Our goal is to facilitate a safe and timely return
to work for federal employees who are off work due
to disabling injuries and illnesses, said Deputy
Minister Maryantonett Flumian during NIDMARs
recent 10th anniversary celebration in Vancouver.

The use of NIDMARs audit tool is an essential
instrument for the development, implementation and
evaluation of the new Federal Disability Management
Strategy that will help us meet that goal.

Ms. Flumian said her department is now crafting
return-to-work policy guidelines that are consistent
with the NIDMAR approach, and will share these
with other federal departments and agencies. The new
strategy, she said, will apply to all public and private
sector businesses under federal jurisdiction.

Having recently obtained a licence for NIDMARs
consensus-based audit tool, the Department of
Labour plans to apply the tool in two ways, she said.
In federal agencies that currently have no disability
management program, it will help assess needs and
establish benchmarks for developing such programs.
In agencies that do have some form of DM program,
the tool will be used to help identify gaps and to
evaluate progress.

I am personally committed to leading this
initiative, she added.

Canadas federal government employs a
workforce of about 250,000 people. In 2003, Ms.
Flumian said, the government spent about $250
million on long-term disability insurance premiums
and a further $125 million in workers compensation.

You cant look at these figures without saying:
We must do something about it, she said.
And we are.

What they said
Along with Maryantonett Flumian, other
distinguished guests took the podium during
NIDMARs 10th anniversary celebration on
November 12, 2004 in Vancouver. Here is a selection
of quotes from each of them:

Disability management programs must be considered
a fundamental part of a companys culture. You cant
fake it! Were striving for change in a complex,
overlapping matrix of human behaviours.
– Don Mazankowski, Weyerhaeuser board member and
former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.

My interest in this great institution will remain as
long as I live that, I promise you.
– Horst Gnther, Associate Minister (ret.), German Federal
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

My vision for us, for you, is not that we would come
together for the 20th anniversary not that in 2014 other
countries will accept the disability standard and audit
tool but that we tear down the obstacles and barriers
we have between the disabled and the non-disabled.
– Joachim Breuer, PhD, CEO, German Workers
Compensation Board, and Chair, Global Commission of
Industrial Accident and Occupational Disease Boards,
International Social Security Association, Geneva.

With the recent merger between the Steelworkers
and the International Woodworkers of America, not
only have we enlarged our membership, but we have
doubled our commitment to disabled workers.
– Ken Neumann, Canadian National Director, United
Steelworkers of America.

There is nothing we can do that would be of more
benefit to injured workers than to return them to their
– Glenn Morton, CEO, Nebraska Workers Compensation
Board, and Chair, US Federation of Workers Compensation

NIDMAR has the worlds best practices in disability
management, the best tools. We searched, so we
know there really is nothing else like it out there.
– Cameron McCullagh, CEO, EmployersMutual, Sydney,

Our challenge in the next 10 years is to really go
the distance, making the difference on the ground,
giving injured and disabled workers the respect and
opportunity they deserve.
– Brian Payne, President, Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union of Canada, and Co-Chair, NIDMAR.

Given whats been accomplished since 1994, its
hard to imagine what we can achieve in the next 10
– Mike Rushby, Vice President Human Resources,
Weyerhaeuser Company, and Co-Chair, NIDMAR.

What matters most is the impact the work of
NIDMAR has had on the lives of disabled men and
women. They are no longer marginalized and left at
home, but are now included.
– Hon. David H. Vickers, Justice, Supreme Court of BC,
and master of ceremonies for the evening.

The anniversary celebrations international flavour
was no accident; NIDMAR has grown into a worldwide
presence. For example, the German Workers
Compensation Board (the worlds largest WCB,
covering 43 million workers) has licensed
NIDMARs educational, professional and program
standards. So has EmployersMutual in Australia, and
other public and private sector organizations worldwide.
The same standards are now part of the
International Labour Organizations new Strategy on
Social Security.

As Institute co-chair Mike Rushby put it, In 10 years,
NIDMAR has evolved from a BC forestry initiative
into a truly global initiative.


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